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Saturday, 10 January 2009


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bad photographer, but great painter.

"...a spiritual society, living simply, independently, and in harmony with nature, apart from the industrialized world of environmental pollution and materialism which they reject and refer to as "Babylon." Naturally, the Rastafarians do not trust outsiders, such as Plaintiff, and it was only after living with them for years that Plaintiff was finally permitted to photograph them"

Subsequently, through various industrial production methods, the plaintiff transformed the Rastafarians' spirituality into cheap products which he sold to Babylonians for his own material benefit.

You can't fault Cariou's logic, though: What's an artist supposed to do after having to live with a bunch of stinky, stoned dudes for years?

Why, make a profit, of course!

Why don't you start a TOP readers project of Richard Prince appropriations. TOP readers could photograph, copy, download, etc. Richard Prince “works”, and then alter them to their hearts content.
Mike, you could post the better ones, as original works of course. Perhaps there would be sufficient material for a book and then a touring exhibition. Richard Prince's name would appear nowhere.
I wonder, would anything hit the fan?
I'm sorry. It's a cold, dull ,snowy day here and there are so many pots to be stirred.

Very sad, that Prince seems to be favored in this 'debate.' Frankly, i'm shocked. I do remember reading about the Andrea Blanch controversy. This seems more egregious and clear-cut to me. How is this NOT infringement? I'm not buying the argument of "transformative" work. If anything, it exploits the hard work of other artists.

Secondly, anyone who bought the Prince piece is an idiot. Knowing or unknowing. It's pretty pathetic. If they bought it purely for Prince's name, they deserve whatever crapstorm follows.

Unfortunately, it seems Warhol is the ultimate culprit in all of this.

Somehow, Prince's work all smacks of assignments handed out by a high-school art teacher.

I'm flabbergasted. I kept looking for clues that this is just a colossal prank. This guy Prince is actually making millions by taking pictures of other people's pictures, changing the tint and size and reselling them as his own?

Not only that, but the people he is stealing from are defensive about being the slightest bit annoyed by the whole thing? Wow...

It's not appropriation, it's theft pure and simple. The painting thing, that's appropriation (and it does suck) and I can see gray areas there. The Marlboro Man things are out and out theft.

How is there any doubt about this?

Fell on the ice the other day while out taking pictures and bruised my back, and now j ho has me laughing so hard it hurts.

An obvious crook and one who deserves the book that may be hurled at him, legally speaking ... but here's one point:

I think anyone interested in public relations might want to study Prince and his methods. Even while holding two fingers clamped tightly to nostrils.

Think of the many brilliant photographers who are and likely will forever remain unknown, who dedicate years to the acquisition of craft, who deserve recognition as much as Prince doesn't deserve it ... and then think of Prince, who pulls in fame and a king's ransom for marketing photographs that HE DIDN'T EVEN SHOOT!

HE DIDN'T EVEN TAKE THE PICTURES!!, and yet he got away with it as long as he did.

What does that say about the relationship of marketing and recognition?

Photographers whose works Prince has "re-appropriated" have about as much chance of stopping him, or getting compensation, as chickens have of growing lips. Of course it probably behooves many of the otherwise anonymous aggrieved photographers to publicly protest. By doing so they're basically like remoras riding Prince's belly hoping to gobble publicity drippings.

Make no mistake; I'm no fan of Prince's work. But he's skillfully playing photographers for simple goofs to garner free publicity.

Prince is nothing more than a thief.

Sort of mirrors the greed thing going on in "The West" and the consequences which are now hitting us all in the goolies. Greed and something for nothing ...

You guys are unbelievable ...nah I believe it.......think of all the images you take without asking. Don't bleat the..... but I do not profit from them, maybe some of those people don't want their images pasted on websites, galleries or even your private slideshow!! etc. Get on with life.

He also used some photos of a friend of mine in the Canal Zone series, including the main piece. MY friend's name is Eric Kroll who is well known, respected fetish photographer. Eric was flattered at the use of his work, which is probably the best attitude to have over it, but I agree with many here that it's a bit like stealing, especially when a credit isn't even given. Mostly, I believe it's all one big hoex on the art world. The fact someone is willing to spend 2.5 million on a single piece that's really just a cut and paste of other's work tells much of the so called art community. The name of the artist printed on a piece of "art" has more influence on how it's regarded than the actual content of the art itself. The highbrow art community knows very little about what's good and what's not, but they have the money... and you know it's all about the money.

I don't care for Richard Prince in any way, shape, or form, but I have to admit Imants has a point. Photographers "take" from strangers and they're protected in doing so because it's legal. Well, the courts have ruled that what Prince is doing is derivative artwork and thus protected and legal, so it's sort of a case of live by the sword, die by the sword, isn't it?

Mike J.

" The name of the artist printed on a piece of 'art' has more influence on how it's regarded than the actual content of the art itself."

Personally I think anything anyone will pay $2.5 million for IS art. If I could crack that code, I sure would. [g]

But speaking of the name on the art, didn't Andy Warhol once offer a "print" that consisted of a blank sheet of paper signed by him? If I recall correctly, the price was $5,000 and the "edition" sold out. Not sure how good my memory is on this.

Mike J.

Richard Prince is a very good artist, but his work really pushes some peoples buttons. Same with Bruce Gilden. Prince has been doing this stuff since the 1970s when it sold for nothing. The people who spend millions on art are generally hedge fund managers, not the 'highbrow art community'. Those people are generally broke.

I think Warhol, to my knowledge, was one of the first to recognize and capitalize from his regarded status within the art world and yes, he did do a blank canvas edition. Is a blank canvas a piece of art? I guess, if someone deems it art then it is, just like Prince's work. Would my name or your name one a blank canvas command a high dollar value, or any dollar value for that matter? Probably not. I have nothing against Prince, and I especially don't against Warhol, but I do find it insanely bizarre that anyone would want to pay anything for something they could so readily do themselves. The Marlboro Man picture Prince sold for 1.1 million I believe really tells the tale of how the artist is bigger than the art; that to me was his true message with that piece. Prince is a genius, and not for his art, but rather the way he's manipulated the elements within his control to develop his stature and his ability to profit from the stupidity and the vanity of others. Don't get me wrong, we're all stupid and vain in one way or many, but he's found ways to really make large sums of money from the people who don't like to give theirs up, so bravo to that! The question then becomes, who is he really stealing from, the artist he borrows from or the people he's selling to? My belief is both, but who am I to say what's up or down?

On a side note, this question of theft of intellectual propriety is ironically different in our courts from one form of art to another. The fact is, Prince's method of taking and reshaping is (or at least up to now is) allowed by law, but if someone does the same with music, it's called sampling and is punishable by law if rights aren't cleared prior to release. Someone please explain how that can be? Any lawyers in the house?

I didn't realize hedge managers ran the Guggenheim...

Aw, c'mon. I see the critical contribution that Prince has managed to make is, as was noted a bit earlier, to turn some pretty shallow ideas into reasonably large amounts of money by adding intellectual pretension and large dollops of belonging to an exclusive, elite, invitation-only set. But Bernie Madoff has been doing this about fifty times as well...


Everything you ever needed to know about art was explained in this post on the previous version of this blog ...


I'm not sure you can blame Warhol for this; Marcel Duchamp signed a urinal and gave it a title in 1917. He had no hand in its making, only choosing and signing it.

Many photos include parts of or whole copyrighted works or trademarks or objects created/owned by others.

Its not clear why copying a photo and using it in a collage is worse than taking a photo that includes someone else's work, for example:

"I didn't realize hedge managers ran the Guggenheim..."


On another tangent entirely, if the situation were to change so that what Richard Prince's work ( photographs of photographs ) was not protected by the law , then photographers would be limited to mostly nudes , clouds, and landscapes since just about every other genre of photography involves the depiction of some other human's creative work whether it is is a building or a tee shirt.

Imagine taking a photograph in times square without including someone else's "Intellectual Property"

It seems that people are easily confused. Photographing strangers has nothing to do with copying photographs, other than that both involve photography. The legal issues are entirely different.

Also, photographing a landscape that includes someone else's creative work is not at all like copying someone else's creative work and presenting it as your own.

Don't be so sure that Prince is legally protected. According a New York Times article (12/6/07), Prince has paid at least one out-of-court settlement to a photographer.

What Prince does is morally reprehensible. It is like copying someone else's homework. It was wrong in school. It is wrong in the business world. And it should be wrong in the art world.

I feel truly sorry for Sam Abell, Jim Krantz and other artists copied by Prince. They are victims.

"I never associated advertisements with having an author,” wrote Prince in an email to the NY Times. Tell that to Richard Avedon, Annie Leibowitz and every other photographer who has done commercial work.

If other people's creative work can be freely "appropriated", then say bye bye to copyright law, patent law and trademark law. Sell your own Coca Cola and call it ... Coca Cola. Make your own Mickey Mouse cartoons and show them in your own Disney World. Create your own iTunes and sell the complete Beatles oeuvre.

Here in Marin County, the photographer Art Rogers won a law suit agaist Jeff Koons for a similar "appropriation" as detailed in this Wikipedia article:

I saw that show at the walker I loved the paintings the big nurse book covers and the sloppy letter stuff where really good, the photos? just photos of other peoples photos.

I always thought it was Sam Abell, not Jim Krantz, who shot the original "Marlborough Man" photos for Philip Morris, current owners of the copyright. Did Jim Krantz shoot some other photos for Philip Morris or am I completely off track here?

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